16 Filipino talents shine in 'Level Up Pinoy' semifinals

Published December 8, 2021, 9:59 PM

by Robert Requintina

Level Up Pinoy

Sixteen talented young Filipinos battle it out for international recognition in the semifinal round of the talent competition dubbed “Level Up Pinoy.”

Kate Quiogue Valentino described the 16 contestants as enthusiastic and eager to win the competition.

As Kate previously said, the talent competition will serve as a springboard for talented Filipino singers to be recognized worldwide and be given a chance to enjoy a sustainable international singing career.

“My goal is to discover the next generation of internationally-renowned Filipino singers. The likes of Manny Pacquiao or Leah Salonga. I want to be an instrument for aspiring Filipino singers to chase their dreams,” said Kate, Gawad Amerika Awardee, during a Zoom conference recently.

The grand finals of “Level Up Pinoy” will be held on Dec. 17 and 18.

In the same press conference, Kate also introduced two judges – Maribeth Pascua, Voice of Asia Winner in the 1990s, and Bennie Almonte, former OctoArts Dancer – who are part of the selection process for the talent show.

Both Maribeth and Bennie shared winning tips for the contestants.

Kate Quiogue Valentino

“First, they should to have their own originality. Minsan, when I make a comment, ako yung nahihiya. Ayoko kasi na ma-offend sila. But I was just being honest when it comes to criticisms. Direcho ako magsalita. Sabi nga nila, parang si Simon Cowell daw ako magsalita. Pero ganun talaga ako.

“With years of experience, I’ve been training for almost 25 years. Meron akong career sa Indonesia that helped me built my own voice lesson. Marami akong clients but I gave up kasi ang dami na. Tuloy-tuloy yun na pagtuturo every day. Wala akong day-off.

“In the US, I had 45 students. Parang sa isang araw, eight hours din ang work ko. I go house-to-house, kaya medyo nahirapan ako. I was diagnosed to have cancer and I lie low. I have a stable job now, and it’s not related to show business,” said Maribeth, adding that music is still part of her life.

Bennie believes a future star will emerge from this group of semifinalists.

“When it comes to dancing, most of the contestants in ‘Level Up Pinoy’ are from the provinces. They are so energetic and youthful,” said Bennie, of Retro Fitness.

Kate agrees with Bennie, saying that the 16 contestants are inspired to win. “May mga lumilitaw na sa kanila na magagaling. The competition is giving them hope. They are striving hard and inspired.”

Maribeth reminds the contestants to be unique in their presentations.

Maribeth Pascua (Facebook)

“Karamin sa kanila walang originality. Be yourself! Ang tao sumisikat because may sarili silang identity. Kung wala kang identity, walang mangyayari. Boses mo si Michael Jackson pero hindi ka naman si Michael Jackson. Ang maaalala nila si Michael Jackson, hindi ikaw.

“Make a style about yourself. That’s the best thing. Kung gusto mo sumikat, you have to sound unique and different. Yun ang pinaka-importante. Sa ngayo, yung competition songs nila hindi pa rin ako satisfied. These days, I’m just basing on the quality. They sounded professional pero hindi sila yun,” said Maribeth.

Bennie added: Iba talaga yung may character ka para maalala ka nila. Pare-pareho ang sound nila and style. Sana gumawa sila ng something na mapapa-wow! ang mga tao.”

Kate praised Maribeth and Bennie for their efforts in judging the finalists. “This is where live coaching comes in. We will also come up with Level Up Academy so that the training and education of the winners will continue.”

The winner of the competition gets a cash prize of P50,000 and a round trip to Bangkok, Thailand with P15,000 pocket money. The second and third placers will receive P30,000; and P20,000, respectively.

Winning does not end here. The grand prize winner will embark on a career marked by training supervised by international vocal coaches, significant online presence and promotions, and virtual concerts. The winner’s journey will be supervised by Unicorn Dreamers Production as the management team.

“I want to provide a platform for aspiring Filipino singers to pursue an international career,” added Kate.

Bennie Almonte (Facebook)

Based in Arizona, Kate has basically traveled the world from Europe and America to Asia and lived in the most exciting and colorful world cities where she learned different cultures and enjoyed an enviable brand of life. But wherever she is, her heart always brings her home to a passion that has been nurtured since childhood.

As far as Kate can remember, music has played a huge role in their family. Kate herself was a member of the school choir. Her parents, too, were members of the church choir. She fondly remembers her parents waking up very early and going to church before the break of dawn.

Relatives would also come to the house and play musical instruments and sing to the accompaniment to their hearts’ desire. These were the bonding sessions that brought them closer. These were the memories that stuck in her mind and heart.

Until the days that her parents lived, music has been part of their lives. This is the main reason why she became so inclined in becoming part of this creative endeavor that her parent loved so much—to continue their legacy.

 
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